Depraved Indifference Murder Conviction Reversed in New York

In People v. Hafeez, 100 NY2d 253, 792 N.E.2d 1060, 762 N.Y.S.2d 572 (2003), the Court of Appeals reversed a depraved indifference murder conviction for legally insufficient evidence and imposed a limiting constraint on the recklessness standard applicable to depraved indifference murder by holding that the grave risk of death presented by the defendant's conduct must extend to someone other than the victim. Id. In that case, the defendant was convicted of depraved indifference murder when he and two friends lured the victim out of a bar to enact revenge for a bar fight months before. Id. at 256. Once defendant had pushed the victim up against a wall, he moved aside to allow his co-defendant to take over, which he did, by fatally stabbing the victim in his heart. Id. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction holding that this single victim killing, where no danger to others existed, did not constitute depraved indifference murder. 100 NY2d at 259.